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What is your Astro-Retina?
by Mark Pottenger

Some recent very one-track postings on a mailing list got me thinking about astrological techniques.  Someone persisted in claiming that if astrological technique A gave valid answers, technique B based on different math could not also give valid answers.

As I understand astrology, all views of the sky produce usable symbolism. You can look at the ecliptic, the equator, the local meridian, horizon, prime vertical, etc.  You can use tropical, precessed tropical and dozens of sidereal calculations.  You can use planets, invented planets and moons, asteroids, comets, stars, etc.  No matter how you choose to represent the universe, meaning can always be found.  Even a chart calculated for incorrect birthdata can produce meaningful symbolism.

As many self-help teachers like to say, it isn't what happens that matters, it is how you interpret what happens that matters.

There are so many ways that we can depict and describe the sky that no astrologer can, at a practical level, use all techniques.  The possible printouts for a single individual can run to hundreds of pages from various programs (over 30 pages per chart just to list named asteroids), and there are still unique techniques that some astrologers do manually because nobody has programmed them yet.  All astrologers must pick and choose which techniques they will use.  The best way to do this is to test various techniques against your own chart and life and those of family and close friends that you know well.  If a particular technique doesn’t seem to work for you, don't worry about it—there are lots of other techniques to try.  Some people find transits useful, some people work better with progressions, some people use returns regularly, and so on.  Everyone has favorite house systems.  No matter how many techniques you try, the ones that work for you should give clarifications and amplifications of the same themes.  If many techniques are giving you many divergent messages, something is out of focus.  Important issues should be visible in repeated variations in all your techniques.

Don't limit yourself to following one teacher (though you will find value in whoever you study—the universe is so constructed that you wouldn’t study them otherwise), create your own amalgam of many teachings.  This could be compared to a prescription for glasses, but the complexity and individuality leads me to prefer the analogy in the title.  Just as each person has unique fingerprints and retina prints, each astrologer has a unique combination of techniques that works best for him or her.  Don't take someone else's word for how to look at the universe—discover for yourself how you can get your clearest vision.

Copyright 2000 Mark Pottenger

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